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Catonsville field hockey falls to Old Mill in regional final

When Catonsville started out in the Class 4A North Region field hockey playoffs, the Comets wanted to prove they could beat the top teams in Baltimore County.

They did just that in the regional semifinals when they defeated Dulaney, 2-1, to avenge a 1-0 loss in the regular season.

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That gave Catonsville victories over both teams in the county championship game, Hereford and Dulaney.

But on Wednesday evening, when the Comets stepped out of Baltimore County for the regional championship game, they were greeted by an Old Mill team on a mission.

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Old Mill was eliminated by Dulaney, 2-1, in the 2013 championship and the Patriots were not going to let it happen against Catonsville.

They scored four first-half goals and marched on to the state semifinals with a 5-0 victory.

Senior Alana Kakuk had three goals and classmate Tatiana Bodnar had a goal and an assist in the first half for Old Mill (13-2).

Amanda Chapin (2 assists) and Stephanie Drocella (1 assist) aided the first-half scoring, and Alyssa O'Toole added a goal with four seconds left in the second half to complete the scoring.

"We played Dulaney last year and they won 2-1, so we thought this is going to be a really comparable game, like back and forth, and at the end I feel like it was that, but we just came out so fast and hard and they just didn't expect it," Bodnar said.

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Catonsville got outstanding goalkeeping from Vanessa Tracy (12 saves) early in the second half when she made four saves in the first eight minutes.

"I think after the first half, we knew what their corners were going to look like, so we were prepared to get around the girl that was standing in front of me," Tracy said. "We were just ready to go."

"She had some great saves. I'm really proud of Vanessa," Catonsville coach Carrie Mckenna-Wilson said.

Defenders Elissa Presslein, Savannah Cheuvront and Emma Walsh fed off of her energy and held the Patriots to  two shots in the final 20 minutes of the second half.

"Defense knew when we had a 4-0 lead we had to stay back and play some moderate defense, play conservatively and I think that's what we did,' Bodnar said. "We didn't let them get in the circle that much, which is really helpful."

Catonsville did get some chances in the second half. An open field pass from Emma Clark to Catherine Sweeney set up a fastbreak opportunity for Brittany Stevens, but Bodnar retreated in time to prevent a shot.

Bodnar and defenders Sam Kiser and Madison Downey bent a little in the second half but never broke.

"We had our opportunities to score in that second half," Mckenna-Wilson said.

An interception by Sweeney set up a shot on goal by Stevens with 14:43 remaining.

Maggie Larson also had an off-balance shot that was blocked by a defender, and Clark had a shot that went wide.

Ashley Bates sent a nice pass to Clark, but her diagonal pass into the circle was just out of reach of charging Juliana Keagle.

Although the loss ended Catonsville's season, the win over Dulaney did ease some of the pain.

"That was awesome," Mckenna-Wilson said.

Her goalie agreed.

"That was great to win," Tracy said. "We only won by one so it was pretty tight at the end, but defense killed it."

The loss ended the Comet careers of Clark, Sweeney, Tracy, Keagle, Larson, Alissa Fisher, Abbi Manger and Meghan Bennett.

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